Welcome! Pull up a seat and enjoy a chat with Today’s Tease J.J. DiBenedetto
Your Name or Pen Name you use: J.J. DiBenedetto
Title of the book you are promoting: Dream Student, Dream Doctor & Dream Child, Dream Family
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Suspense
Welcome JJD…I, LH have some questions for you 😉
LH: I wanted to be a ballerina, race car driver and a private detective when I was little. What did you want to be when you grew up?
JJ: An astronaut. Or Han Solo (who flew in space, so I guess he counts as an astronaut, too)
LH: I didn’t really have a literary influence, I just decided one day to start writing. Who influenced you in your writing career?
JJ: I’m kind of like you. I can’t point to any one literary influence. Although as I read through my writing, I do often see elements of whatever I was reading/obsessed with at the time it was written.
LH: I self published all of my books and was then “discovered” by a publisher. Are you an Indie or published author?
JJ: Self-published, hoping to be discovered myself!
LH: As an Indie Author, I was hesitant about being with a publishing company. If you are an Indie author, would you like to be published by a traditional publisher and if so, why or why not?
JJ: I would love to be published by a traditional publisher and see my books in every bookstore, etc. Trying to market my books myself is incredibly difficult. But I do like that I have total control over everything, as well.
LH: This is easy for me…I’d invite Johnny Depp and I would not discuss movies! Who would you invite to dinner, living or dead, and what one topic would you NOT discuss with them?
JJ: My paternal grandfather, Alfred DiBenedetto. He died before I was born, and it’s only recently that I even found out what his proper legal name was (although I’m pretty sure it was actually Alfredo rather than Alfred before he came to America). I’d rather get to know him than meet any famous person. And I don’t think there’s any topic I would want to be off limits.
LH: I personally think that there is way too much sex and violence everywhere in society these days and it’s everywhere but that Hollywood is one of the biggest contributors. Do you think that society as a whole is subjected to too much sex and violence and are you concerned about it? Ever feel conflicted and if so, why?
JJ: I agree completely. Sometimes I think that the old Hollywood production code that limited what could be shown actually was a creative benefit rather than a hindrance. It forced Hollywood to find ways to get ideas across without showing endless parades of nudity or rivers of bloodshed.
I definitely keep it in mind in my own writing. The worst violence in my book is off-screen or implied rather than shown. And the sex that happens is between two loving partners, and is pretty non-explicit.
LH: I’m a huge softy and by no means a beauty queen… lol but, I truly would want world peace in the blink of an eye if I could make it happen…If you could change one thing in the world, in the blink of an eye, what would it be?
JJ: I’m along the same lines as you. I’d say an end to cruelty, not just between one nation and another, but between governments and their people, and between individuals as well.
LH: With the traditional bookstore becoming obsolete and everyone turning to buying books online, I don’t buy the hype that “the cover is everything”. How important do you think book covers are now that almost all shopping is done online?
JJ: I wish they were less important, but I do think that people still place a lot of importance on that first impression. I love the covers for my books; I had them hand-painted by an artist and I think she did an amazing job. But some reviewers have said that they gave them the impression that these are children’s books, or otherwise books they wouldn’t pick up off the shelf. So I can see that the cover is still a big deal.
LH: I can remember wanting to write as a kid. I got a really late start! Have you always wanted to write and when did you start?
JJ: I have always wanted to write. The first time I remember really writing fiction was in high school. I had a (dreadful) story published in the school’s literary magazine. I kept on writing lots of page 1’s of stuff, but ten or twelve years ago, I finally wrote a novel-length work, which was the first draft of “Dream Student”. It wasn’t very good, and it sat on my computer until last year. Then, one of my good friends sold her novel, and that inspired me. If she could do it, why couldn’t I do it, too? I went back to that first draft, rewrote it from word one, and before I knew it, it had turned into four books (with a fifth in progress right now).
LH: I love to see if I can see myself in a character. What interests you most about a story?
JJ: A lot of different things. For me the writing style is really important. There’s no one style that I especially fall for, but it has to make me feel comfortable. I tend to like stories told in the first person; that helps me identify with the character.
I’m also very plot-driven; I want to know “what happens next”, and sometimes I’ll peek to the end (I’m also a spoiler junkie with my favorite TV shows and movies).
LH: For me, I just get hit with this whole movie in my head and start writing. How do you come up with your stories?
JJ: Sometimes it’s exactly like that for me. And sometimes it’s just a single idea. With the Dream books, it was just the concept of, “what if you could see other people’s dreams?” and what kind of problems would that lead to? That’s how the plot of the first book developed. Sara is seeing horrible crimes, but she has no physical evidence or even reliable facts she could go to the police with, so she’s basically forced to hunt for the killer herself.
LH: I can’t tell you or I’d have to…lol Are you working on anything now?
JJ: I’m halfway through the fifth book of the Dream series. Each book has brought a new challenge for Sara, and this one has possibly the toughest one of all – she’s facing someone else who can see dreams just like she can, but this other dreamer isn’t using her power for good, as Sara is…
I’m also working on a adventure/romance/comedy that’s I’d put in the same category as “Romancing the Stone”.
LH: I’m working on #6…3 are published and the other 3 are due out this year… How many books have you written? How many have been published?
I’ve written four books so far, all in the Dream series, and they’re all published and available now.
LH: I write for fun I don’t even dream of riches…Do you write for fun or money?
JJ: I’d love the riches, but I wrote first of all just to get the stories out of my head. The characters took on a life of their own and pretty much demanded I keep writing about them.
LH: Some of my family members had a bit of a problem with me writing my first book “A Beautiful Liar” because the character Maggie West is basically me…to a point 😉 They had a problem with the genre and me “putting it all out there” so to speak so I took a pen name. They eventually came around as I have never cared who knows who I am what I’ve done or what they think of me. I’ve never wanted to be famous, just infamous! What has been your biggest problem when it comes to family or friends when writing?
JJ: I haven’t had any problems from family or friends; they’ve all been very supportive (fingers crossed that it stays that way!)
LH: I have never experienced writers block…I have experienced writers “don’t want to”… Have you ever experienced writers block and if so, how did you overcome it?
JJ: I’ve had it for a few days at a stretch. I didn’t do anything special to overcome it, it just passed on its own.
LH: I get asked all the time “Do you have any advice for new writers?”… Do you?
JJ: Sure! First, just do it. Write. Don’t think about writing, or plan to write. Just write. Second, be patient. As I’ve been reminded every day since my self-publishing adventure began, “it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”
LH: I would not change one thing in my life as I would not be me if I did… If you could go back in time and change one thing in your life, what would it be?
JJ: If I could figure out the one thing to change so that I’d be less shy and often terrified in social situations, I’d change whatever that thing was. But I doubt there is one thing that would do it.
LH: If I could go back in time and tell someone something, I’d go back and tell the founding fathers they were doing a few things wrong…If you could go back in time and tell someone something, who would you tell and what would you tell them?
JJ: Mine would be a lot more personal. I’d go back and tell my father to never have that first drink.
LH: I would freak out if someone contacted me and said they wanted to make one of my books or my series of book into a movie as I am really very shy in person and I’d probably go into hiding. I don’t think I could handle it. How would you handle it? Who would be the first person you told?
JJ: I’d be thrilled beyond words. I would tell my wife first. And then I’d call my friend who’s an intellectual property lawyer and get his advice.
Thank you for that honest and sweet interview JJ….Now… for the fun stuff!
Favorite Beverage? RC Cola
Exercise or Bubble Bath? Bubble Bath!
Favorite Color? Green
Take out or Dine in? Take out…I could go for a nice portion of chicken tikka masala right now…
Camping or Hotel? Hotel. Why would you ever camp?
Sports or Chocolate? Watching sports, if it’s the Giants and they’re winning, I’d take that over chocolate.
Dogs or Cats? I love them both. Right now I’m a cat person, or more accurately, a cat-owned person.
Favorite Food? Fondue.
Favorite Song? Steppin’ Out by Joe Jackson
Favorite Movie? Almost Famous
Favorite Car? Doc Brown’s DeLorean
Sex or Chocolate? (The answer “Both” is totally acceptable 😉 One, then the other (not saying which order!)
And now for the essay part of the interview 😉
If you could go anywhere for a week, with anyone you wanted and no one would ever find out about it…where would you go, what would you do and who would you take?
I’m going to have to give you the honest but boring answer. I’d take my wife to Paris. I’ve been there and loved it utterly, and she’s never been. She loves art and studied art history, so I’d take her to the Louvre and the Orsay and probably visit Versailles. We’d go to the opera, and go to Mass at Norte Dame, and walk along the Seine at all hours of the day and night.
Thank you for spending this time with us! Make sure to pick up your copy of J.J. DiBenedetto’s works
Dream Student, Dream Doctor & Dream Child & Dream Family